Monday, March 19, 2012

But it's supposed to be about something...

Good people fighting for good causes. Who can fault it? It's one of the organizing principles of society: Backlash against bad things. But you do get to a point where every public gesture is dressed in do-good garb, and I'd like to point out that it can get pretty boring and worse, false, or rather, because certain pantomimes are expected, because symbolic behaviors are beholden to point at some vaguely nice or system-sustaining meaning, they are increasingly void of meaning.

And meaning is the problem. A brief survey of things reveals lots of moral panic followed up by look-at-me efforts to wedge lots of actions, transactions, expressions, into some tried and true form of desired meaning. Heavy handed examples of how good societies should behave. Tonight I applaud the triumph of non-meaning, enigmas, chaos, absurdity, delirium, and things for their own sake. I raise a glass to certain things that ignore tired morality cartoons in reviving ways.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Number blocked...

I have always welcomed the existence of simply elegant and wildly offbeat explanations offered by so-called "crackpots" and "conspiricists" in addressing that which inspires or confounds them. I'm less interested in the content of individual theories (though they're often wonderfully provocative), and more impressed by the choice to pursue them in public. It takes a certain courage to stick your neck out in our clubby species, one traditionally bound by fear and conformity, where being labeled a "conspiracy theorist" is not only instantly marginalizing, but also grounds for being considered insane. So three cheers to all the iconoclasts and visionaries and genuine nutters out there who've stuck to their guns, performed their own research, and broadcast what's on their minds in the face of rejection and worse.

They are just theories after all. The "conspiracy" prefix is a label that comes from a system that needs to protect itself and ward off ideas and speculations that might cause it to unravel at the seems. It doesn't matter whether the outside ideas are bogus or correct. The risk of any uncontrolled, un-vetted paradigm shift in perception is too threatening. It makes sense. (Those clever cabals who worked long and hard to build sheeple-containing systems would surely lose out!)

I'm always interested to see how people dismiss outsider ideas. "Ah conspiracy theory, the plague of feeble minds..." is one response I remember well. "People just aren't smart enough to pull that kind of thing off..." is another that's been used to derail alternative takes on everything from the moon mission to 9/11. "There's no proof..." is the classic response (to which one might counter "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"). The list of debunkings goes on and on. The unifying agent? They always have an air of finality about them. As if the dismissing logic were draped over a single sentiment: DON'T MESS!

(Jean Luc Cornec)

Monday, March 12, 2012

Too much verb...

Had that been the case, exercises would have had to have been enacted after having had their paperwork approved, not before.

(Martha Rosler)

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Get Kony...

As so many of us shame-ridden citizens of Bubblopolis (LA/NY/PDX/SF/etc) focus our (solar) flaring (full moon) frustrations on getting Kony, what I really wanna know is - who's gonna get the shameless narcissist Jason Russell?

At risk of sounding glib, I am so pushed away from the subject by this approach. The asserted good intentions of legacy-obsessed self-filming altruists grate nerves to their nubs and degrade the real issues at play here down to sunny Bonoism. Jason Russell you've left me cold, disinterested, and angry (at you) in the face of something that clearly deserves attention. And I kick myself for falling into this dumb trap of trifling disgust. Here, embarrassed, nauseated, at my coldest, I will confess to a passing interest in the unchecked projections of outraged Californians marketizing their dawning discomfort with other worlds (via cute bracelets, child exploitation, superior voices, Shepard Fairey fingerpaints, and the power of the self-promoting docu-tumor). It makes one wonder what blunt awareness can do. I'm now painfully aware that ego-activism compounds Kony problems in fascinating ways. It's a great model of a 21st Century transcontinental socio-cinematic puzzle that defines increasingly odd encounters in the extremes of global culture. We're one but we're not the same.

Yes, someone should get Kony. Do I have to even say that? He's apparently a murdering opportunist lost in a situation no one fully understands. And yes, maybe this campaign will help save some children from ruin. That would be very good. I don't want to be a hater here, but tonight my hackles are as flared as our sun's corona. I don't seem to be the only one wresting with this either. OK, I'll stop. I know my expression is as misguided and upsetting as the one I'm attacking. Damn you civilization with all your blind spots and quagmires. Damn you America for the numbing spritz of your popping bubbledom.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Nothing is in the bag...

(Viviane Sassen "Mauritanie")

Thursday, March 01, 2012

Genius lurks...

Apparently, genius lurks just beneath the surface of ordinary things. Do you see it?

(Thanks Helena!)